Friday, January 12, 2018

Race Review - Stanford Treeathlon Triathlon 2017

Stanford Treeathlon Sprint Triathlon - 500m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. Redwood City, CA. March 4, 2017

Overall - ★★★★☆

Registration - ★★★☆☆
$90. Despite the good swag score I still think this is a little pricey for a sprint. I entered on the day. No line to sign up. That part was easy.

Swag - ★★★★☆
Long Stanford branded socks (very handy) and a nice black t-shirt (shiny tech material) which I wear to run in fairly often. No finisher medals (thank you!).

Course - ★★★★☆
Swim - Apart from it being quite cold as expected for that time of year (and it was raining pretty hard on and off) it was clearly marked and fairly easy to sight. You want to get around the first buoy pretty quick for the left hander then it's a straight shot to the wharf. Also, It's more like 600m than 500m. There's a long run to T1 but would still recommend going bare feet.

Bike - Completely closed to traffic which is rare and great. Flat and fast although did get a little congested in the later waves but nothing too dramatic. There are 3 laps and many pinhead turns so it's worth practicing them.

Run - Flat and straight forward out and back on a bike path. Can be windy. Get a sense of where the finish line before the race if it comes down to a sprint finish!

Post-Race Feed - ★★★☆☆
Can't remember. There were some energy bars. No beer (being a college race). We hit the In 'N Out on the way home!

Prizes / Results - ★★★☆☆
Stood around forever in the rain and cold. waiting for results. However got some bar tape for winning my age group worth about $20 so that was worth waiting around for. Results were online fairly quickly although I remember a few errors that took a bit to get corrected.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Arete: The Rapid Rise of Santa Cruz's Women's Running Club

Maleta Wright and McConville
 in their high school days
 https://runarete.com/about/
Mary Maleta Wright and Melissa McConville, a couple of self-described dorks who loved to run, met on the Soquel High School track team. Fast forward 15 years and they've recreated that love of running and community as adults by founding the Arete running club. Running has been at the core of the strong bond they’ve maintained through moves to college, pregnancies and various jobs. Maleta Wright ran on Division 1 teams at UCLA and Cornell University and McConville continues to compete in marathons and is the creator of the popular she.is.beautiful race series that takes place in both Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. They hatched an idea to start an all-women’s running club. Gathering feedback from other runners, they launched the team, which they called Arete, in 2016 with 20 members. The team has already grown to 70 members in Santa Cruz, with other chapters in the Bay Area and beyond having sprung up since, bringing the total number of Arete women up to close to 150.


So what’s the secret that led this particular running club to take off so rapidly? Some clues lie in the name Arete—a Greek word and virtue pronounced ahr-i-tey—that means excellence and encompasses a certain philosophy. The group’s core belief is that competitors must develop mind, body, and soul in order to achieve “arete,” It’s a balance that many women who have joined Arete believe they have come closer to since becoming a part of the team.

“I look forward to every Wednesday night track practice because regardless of the other externalities happening around me, our team’s compassion and positivity is contagious,” explains team member Charissa Rujanavech. “I always felt better after running sprints with my teammates.”

McConville and Maleta Wright finishing
the Wharf to Wharf as expectant
 mothers. https://runarete.com/about/
Arete’s model of an all-women’s team for experienced and intermediate runners is a unique one. Wright says that the current national atmosphere—with sexual harassment grabbing headlines, for instance–may have fuelled interest in build and seeking community. Women on the team who must run in the dark of early mornings to fit it in their schedules run in a group of five or six and feel safer in the streets together.

More than 60 members competed in the recent California International Marathon held in Sacramento, in either relays or the full marathon, with the top ten Arete members all finishing in under three hours and 20 minutes, a 7:37-per-mile pace. Included in that group was 62-year old Karen Kunz, from the Sacramento chapter, who set an age group course record of 3:15:06. Becky Lavelle, 43, a former reserve on the U.S. Olympic triathlon team, returning to competition for the first time since retiring, ran a time of 2:56:55.

The club has grown even when members reluctantly let go of the community they’ve discovered at Arete and move away. These women have spawned Arete teams in other locations. Other supporters found the club online, mostly through Instagram, and there are chapters opening up in Santa Barbara, Oakland, Sacramento and Chico. The team is upfront about the fact it’s not for just any rank beginner. “Must be able to run six miles continuously” is the requirement on the website and there are race time levels, “Open,” “Intermediate” and “Advanced” for the athletes to aspire to. That allows women who have competitive goals to run and socialize together without feeling like they’re leaving anyone behind.

While none of the women are professional runners, Wright and McConville are both from competitive running backgrounds. Wright, a certified running coach, leads practices on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Arete has redefined some women’s personal relationship with running. Santa Cruz member Monique Davila summed it up by writing “Running is no longer a task, but a privilege. When I lace up my shoes I no longer think, ‘I have to run today.’ I now think, ‘I GET to run today. How lucky am I?’”

Arete Women's Running Club is holding its 2018 Season Launch Party 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at New Brighton Middle School. There will be a fun run, complementary coffee, brunch and and an information session. For more information, visit runarete.com.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Running Diagonals


Diagonals in powder snow on a soccer field. 

Diagonals are a good winter hit out to work on your leg speed while not exhausting yourself like a genuine track workout. They'll get your heart rate up without breaking the bank. They're also a good session for when you've only got a field to play with and/or don't want to venture too far from home because of weather or safety. Like in heavy snow or travelling in unfamiliar areas.

Diagonals Workout: 30-40 mins

10-20 min warm up.

12-20 hard across the diagonal of the field then a barely moving/walk jog across the short end. Move continuously and build them as you warm up. Concentrate on a good turnover and holding your technique together as you tire.

5-10 mins easy cool down.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Strength Workout For Distance Runners

20-30 minutes of strength training two to three times a week is beneficial long distance runners. Here's a simple program to follow:

Exercises

Squats: 2 sets of 8-12
Backward Lunges: 2 sets of 8-12 (great for hill running)
Bicep Curls: 2 sets of 12-15
Calf Raises: 2 sets of 20
Triceps Extensions: 2 sets of 12-15
Plank: 2 times to exhaustion max (~1 min)
Crunches: 4 sets of 20.

Optional/Extra

Bench Press: 2 sets of 12-15
Dumbbell Bent Over Row: 2 sets of 12-15

Squats


Backward Lunges



Bicep Curls




Calf Raises


Triceps Extensions



Plank


Crunches



Bench Press



Dumbbell Bent Over Row



Free Weight Strength Workout for Triathletes

I'm very conscious of the time restraints of age group athletes but adding 20-30 minutes of strength training twice a week is beneficial especially for older and long distance athletes. Here's a simple program to follow:

Exercises

Bench Press: 2 sets of 12-15
Squats: 2 sets of 8-12
Backward Lunges: 2 sets of 8-12 (great for hill running)
Bicep Curls: 2 sets of 12-15
Triceps Extensions: 2 sets of 12-15
Plank: 2 times to exhaustion max (~1 min)
Crunches: 4 sets of 20.

Optional

Calf Raises: 2 sets of 20
Dumbbell Bent Over Row: 2 sets of 12-15

Bench Press



Squats


Backward Lunges



Bicep Curls


Triceps Extensions






Plank


Crunches



Calf Raises

Dumbbell Bent Over Row



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

3 Basic Jobs For Race Directors

This article is not to suggest that the task of organizing a running or triathlon race is an easy one. But I do feel, with all the bells and plastic medals of the modern event, that a reminder on the fundamentals are in order. These are the three most important things to get right. The rest is fluff.

1. Measure the course
We're all checking our Garmins anyway, you could argue, but as we know they can be inaccurate and confuse things. It's even more important now than ever to have confidence in the official distance, especially at the longer distances. See this marathon that got it wrong not once but twice. Infuriating.

2. Time each person on the course
Mordern chip timing is great when it works. But there's no one who competes regulary who hasn't experienced it NOT work at least once (a season!). We seem to forget that you can actually achieve close to the same thing with a couple of volunteers a pen and stopwatch. I presumed that's why we're covered head to toe in numbers in the first place. I sometimes wonder how much effort is put into a backup plan.

3. Penalize cheats
As some races more closely resemble parades than competitions it may be a surprise that a significant proportion of racers still enter events to compare themselves to others. They can't do that fairly if the rules aren't being followed. Everything from entering the wrong waves, drafting, cutting the course needs to be thought about beforehand to be able to prevent and catch competitors messing up the results inadvertently or otherwise. Someone has to be nominated as race official and train volunteers to watch out for rule infringements and how to report them. 

There, I feel better now.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Santa Cruz Turkey Trot 2017 Results

Start of 5K
TCM TriSquad sassing it up at
the 2017 Santa Cruz Turkey Trot
TCM TriSquad was out in force at the Santa Cruz Turkey Trot 2017. Hayden Spierings opened up in the 1K kids race finishing 2nd 7 year old.

Nick Moless won the 35-39 division of the 5K (and later ran the 10K). I managed a win in the 40-44 division.

In the 10K Cecilia and Crystal pushed each other to early season PRs. Shawn ran the 10K in the middle of his long run but still managed a 45.

Unfortunately some times weren't recorded but results are here.